VALENTINE’S day is here and you’re smug, I can tell.
You think you’re better than me because you’ve got plans and I’ll be all alone, seeing out the evening in a drunken Tinder swipe-fest.
You think I’ll be sad, all by myself, while you’re out hitting the town with your partner, or enjoying a candlelit dinner, or snuggling up beside them at home with a glass of Blossom Hill. Well you’re wrong. Because I’ve already had my Valentine’s Day. I had it a day early, and I spent it with the person whom I love the very most – myself. Partly to prove a point, partly to get out of the house, I decided to show the world and my mum you don’t need company to enjoy the occasion.
Lucky enough, there wasn’t any trouble booking a last-minute table at my favourite restaurant. I requested a discreet spot, so I could pay myself the attention I deserved. The Nando’s staff were more than happy to oblige.
“Just come from work, have you?” the waitress asked, showing me to my table.
“Valentine’s Day treat, actually.” I replied.
“Oh, so you’ll need two menus?” she politely suggested.
“Not tonight,” I said.
“Full Platters are the best for dates, you share the main between you,” she said. My pride forced me to accept. She insisted I’d need wine too. She was right, what’s a romantic date without some vino? Again, pride, perhaps embarrassment, saw me accept two glasses with the bottle.
Forty-five minutes later, I was three-quarters of a way through a whole chicken and the wine bottle was dry. The kind waitress had offered to keep the food warm until my “date” arrived. More fool you, waitress – I was my date.
“She’s running late,” I said, slurring and spitting tiny bits of chicken onto my front. “Her fault.”
Stomach piled with too much poultry, I declined dessert. I left to looks of pity and walked a drunken walk to part two of my romantic evening.
I stumbled upon a classy-looking bar and decided to plonk myself inside. I told the barman I was on a Valentine’s date. He suggested a bottle of wine and I declined but he insisted and we settled upon two large glasses. I’d hide from sight this time to avoid making excuses.
I was really enjoying my company. I was making myself laugh, recalling old stories, fantasising about the future. This was turning into my most pleasant dating experience. Things were going so well I treated myself to two more glasses. Medium this time – I wasn’t going to show myself up.
I don’t know if it was the wine but I felt like ending what was so far a perfect evening snuggled up with a film. The kettle had just boiled for an end-of-evening coffee when I remembered my Christmas bottle of Shiraz was still in the cupboard and decided to keep the mood alive.
The Notebook is an absolute winner on dates and so I cwtched up on the settee in front of an illegal stream of the Ryan Gosling epic. With every additional glass of red the film became harder and harder to follow, and the jokes and conversation began to dry up.
So my attention turned to Tinder, where after a drunken swipe-fest, I was matched with a girl called Pippa who is a nurse and likes French films.
I woke the next morning with a dry mouth and a piercing headache. I think the evening had gone well. Looking at my phone, it seems I had clumsily arranged a date with nurse Pippa for next week. Who knows, perhaps I won’t have to take myself out next Valentine’s Day. But if I had to, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’ve proved a point. I think.